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Svend Asmussen Quartet: Live In Concert: Fit As A Fiddle

C. Michael Bailey By

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Fiddlin' Around. The violin has a long and prominent tradition in jazz, starting with the swing of Stuff Smith through the fusion of Michael Urbaniak. Svend Asmussen shares the page in the jazz style book between Smith and Stephane Grappelli. He recorded his first sides in 1935 and became widely popular in his native Denmark. He recorded with Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, John Lewis, Toots Theilemans and Lionel Hampton. This present disc finds Asmussen captured live with his quartet in 1996. The then 80 year old was quite spry.

dacapo. Fit as a Fiddle was released by decapo records in 1997. Decapo records is a division of Naxos International, specializing in Scandanavian music and music made by Scandanavians. Dacapo Jazz specifically records Danish musicians. The label boasts many releases from the very fine Danish Radio Big Band and, of course, the ever-present NHØP.

Urbane Creativity. This is one of the most listener friendly jazz violin discs I have ever heard. Asmussen rises to all occasions, playing fast Bebop on the disc opener, "Running Wild" or gently caressing a ballad as in "I Loves You Porgy" (a disc highlight) or "Prelude to a Kiss". Asmussen's duet with Jacob Fischer playing slide guitar on"The Mooch" is slinky sensuous. Asmussen displays some pretty swift double-stop playing on his own "Take Off Blues" and a bit of the old country feel on "Columbine Polka Mazurka".

Fit as a Fiddle is straight down the middle, swinging, jazz propelled by a guitar trio supporting ajazz violin master who should be better known on this side of the pond. Another feather in the cap of Naxos International


Track Listing: Running Wild, Bye Bye Blackbird, Take Off Blues, I Loves You Porgy, Wrapping It Up, Groove Merchant, Latino, Columbine Polka Mazurka, The Mooch, Prelude to a Kiss, Night In Tunsia.

Personnel: Svend Asmussen: Violin; Jacob Fischer: Guitar; Jesper Lundgaard: Bass; Aage Tanggaard: Drums.

Title: Live In Concert: Fit As A Fiddle | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Dacapo Records

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